A mesmerizing, behind-the-scenes business thriller that chronicles how Sega, a small, scrappy gaming company led by an unlikely visionary and a team of rebels, took on the juggernaut Nintendo and revolutionized the video-game industry.
In 1990, Nintendo had a virtual monopoly on the video-game industry. Sega, on the other hand, was just a faltering arcade company with big aspirations and even bigger personalities. But all that would change with the arrival of Tom Kalinske, a former Mattel executive who knew nothing about video games and everything about fighting uphill battles. His unconventional tactics, combined with the blood, sweat, and bold ideas of his renegade employees, completely transformed Sega and led to a ruthless, David-and-Goliath showdown with Nintendo. Little did he realize that Sega's success would create many new enemies and, most important, make Nintendo stronger than ever.
The battle was vicious, relentless, and highly profitable, eventually sparking a global corporate war that would be fought on several fronts: from living rooms and school yards to boardrooms and Congress. It was a once-in-a-lifetime, no-holds-barred conflict that pitted brother against brother, kid against adult, Sonic against Mario, and the United States against Japan.
Based on more than 200 interviews with former Sega and Nintendo employees, Console Wars is the tale of how Tom Kalinske miraculously turned an industry punch line into a market leader. Blake J. Harris brings into focus the warriors, the strategies, and the battles and explores how they transformed popular culture forever. Ultimately, Console Wars is the story of how a humble family man, with an extraordinary imagination and a gift for turning problems into competitive advantages, inspired a team of underdogs to slay a giant and, as a result, give birth to a $60 billion industry.
©2014 Blake J. Harris (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers
I would recommend this audiobook. Although dramatized at points, it is thoroughly entertaining and a wonderful look into the marketing side of the video game industry.
I liked that every person in console wars had a very distinct voice, so when he talks, even if he does not say who is talking, you already know who it is.
I would change the amount of honesty the subjects had when interviewed for this book. It's so completely obvious that the conversations in this book are 100% fake. Even if they were true, I'd hate the people having them. These people are all smug and fake. You don't want them to succeed.
He did his best with the material he was given. A great job.
I guess not because they all seem like despicable people.
If it wasn't as exaggerated as this book.
If you are interested in this story, find a book that tells if from an outsider's perspective. The people involved all seem to have remembered themselves as lightning-fast hotshots that talk like they are in a b-list version of The Social Network.
Even though I grew up during this era and knew how it would end it was still such a gripping story. Framing it Sega's perspective gave the story an underdog take that made you really root for them even if you know how it will ultimately end. Add to that such a great vocal performance. The speaker embodies every character and gives each a personality. With so many people it could have been confusing but each one was distinct so it was easy and fun to get into. Highly recommended if you're at all interested in the behind the scenes of the 80s-90s era of gaming.
The depth it goes to really tell the entire story.
Masters of Doom told a story in a similar depth.
His voice acting worked well enough, but his emotion durring the normal narrator parts really stood out.
A new player steps up.
I quite liked the story, but would caution narrators from improvising accents based on the race of a character in the future. One person in particular was described by the author as having a "barely discernable accent" and is portrayed with a rather heavy accent by the narrator. If the author hasn't written something out phonetically, please just read it. If the author is talented at all, we'll get it.
Really enjoyed this book, if your interested in the games industry like me you will love this a great insight more from sega's perspective of what the wars were like back in the 90s. Really enjoyed it
First off, I HATE reading. As a gamer, I find enjoyment in watching stories unfold on screen, not in my head. I decided to try this audio book because I had an 18 hour drive ahead of me and needed something to listen to. I was blown away!
I was surprised at how quickly I got into the story and the characters. it's written so well, you forget it's actually a documentary on real life events. What's even better is that the book is highly informative without ever trying to lecture you. little tid bits of information about the video game industry, marketing and international business are sprinkled in the narrative so you walk away having learned a great deal about the business culture of the early 90's without even realizing it.
Overall a great read for any gamer who lived through, or is curious about, the very first "Console Wars"
I swear this would make a great tv show if someone was willing to write it. It reads just like a multiple seasons of the TV show Mad Men.
"Not as poorly told as some would have you think"
An insightful account of politics and history of the men who helped to build the video gaming generation and the tales that brought us to the point we are at today. Listening to this book it is easy to understand why the video game industry is only at the point it is now and that things are frankly not more advanced. It's because of men like the ones portrayed in this book that we are only yet to receive a consumer version of Virtual Reality, and this book and the story it tells, explains why we are at the level we are...
The narrater him self is adept with an excellent array of voices for each of the characters. The style of this book is completely designed to lend it self to a movie rather then a documentary, and thats a good thing as there are other books and videos out there which will give you the documentary style if you want it. A lot of people have spoken out against the script, and while I understand what they mean, I have worked with business men who speak exactly like this. Business men who speak in overly 'cool' ways with no real substance to what they say, but unfortunately this seems to be the way of the business world. If anything the script is quick to get to the point, but if it were drawn out it would take ten years to read it.
"Ruined by the cheesey Americano style"
This is just like a big greasy burger from an American diner, with extra cheese, and nothing but a big milk shake to wash it down. Initially that sounds great, but about half way through it you've had enough, and you realise why there is a problem with obesity in the United States.
I was very curious about the Sega/Nintendo days of the early nineties. Listen to this - which is hopelessly biased against Nintendo by the way - and I'm sure you won't get more than half of the story.
The lack of objectivity irritates after a while. This is purely for the Mega Drive crowd out there. I owned both (Mega Drive and SNES) - and further more over time I owned both the Gameboy and the Gamegear (the latter was hopeless because of the battery issues).
Read this and you would like to think that it was Nintendo, and not Sega, that tanked immediately in the face of the Sony Playstation, and didn't even live to see the entry of Microsoft into the market.
The dialogue between the central characters is so contrived that it couldn't possibly have happened. This is a fictionalised retelling of events that portrays the executives as American style hip shooting, fast talkers who riff with each other verbally. It is like watching an episode of 'Suits' or something as equally awful.
So it is very very sickly.
Plus the narrative performance is so incredibly American that you can only take so much. I think that there are any number of great American narrators - but this voice has everything that makes you want to switch it off. It is all incredibly smug.
"Wonderful insight into a battle of a generation"
As someone who grew up while the battle between Sega and Nintendo was on full force, this book gives a wonderful picture of what was going on behind the scenes to win the hearts and minds of my generation.
The stories form an incredibly engaging narrative and I enjoyed this immensely.
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